What design job titles really mean

06. UI designer

A UI designer takes an overview of how a user interface functions

A user interface (UI) designer gets involved in defining the way different elements of a user interface behave, provide feedback to the user and help convey meaning. This is very definitely more about designing, and less about implementing.

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07. Interaction designer

This is often another way of saying UI designer (see 06). If we had to define the difference between a UI designer and an interaction designer, we'd say it's down to the areas of a website that encourage direct interaction with a user - such as forms, menus, special effects, media playback and so on.

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08. UX designer

A UX designer focuses on the design from the point of view of the users

A user experience (UX) designer focuses on understanding how a website is used, helping to define areas for improvement and conducting user testing to establish the success of any changes implemented. Sometimes this is a hands-on role that incorporates elements of the front-end developer role (see 05), but other times it's all about analysis and less about the actual doing.

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09. Full-stack developer

This is a term more often used in the US than in the UK. A full-stack developer typically means someone who is expected to be able to perform the roles of web designer, web developer and elements of UI and UX design too. Often this role might act as the interface between the design and development areas of a business, and as a result this might be a senior position depending upon the company.

10. IT Technician

This role is very simply network and hardware-related. If you're expecting anything design or development related, you'll be very disappointed. Expect to be resetting user passwords and helping to administer Exchange server instead.

11. SEO specialist

A SEO specialist has the aim of getting a site to the top of Google

An SEO (search engine optimisation) specialist is concerned primarily with ensuring that the content of a website is optimised to achieve the best possible search engine positioning. They may also get involved in helping to run and manage pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, but their primary function is the analysis of a website's search engine performance, and making changes to improve that performance.

Prefixes and suffixes

Now a senior designer, Ben Topliss (https://twitter.com/bentopliss) started his career as a junior designer at Prism

As well as all the titles we've already looked at, you'll also come across a series of prefixes and suffixes that help to describe the responsibilities and remuneration for a particular role. Typical examples include junior, senior, manager, lead and consultant.

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Wacky titles

There are a few additional titles that can often be found before or after any of the above titles, but that are essentially meaningless, such as:

  • Ninja
  • Rockstar
  • Hacker

Really, the employer is trying to say that they want someone really capable for the job, but then which business wouldn't?

Ninja illustration: Brad Colbow

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